In a ‘challenging’ year there it’s been difficult to get to the cinema as much as I would have liked and it’s meant that this was the easiest of lists to write, since I have only been the cinema about 5 times, but again, it was a quality over quantity situation.
A couple of years ago, I watched the film Captain America: Civil War and a couple of things kind of impressed me, sadly neither was Captain America, nor the Civil War plot. Those two things are Spider-Man and T’Challa, the Black Panther. Both of whom got films off the back of it. Out of those two, this was the better one. Borrowing from several points of the history of the Black Panther comics as well as a few thematic touches from Hamlet (or the Lion King) this was a film that fleshed out a fictional nation in two hours better than over 30 years of comics. There was action, more than a little humour and a villain who’s motivations where more than a little understandable. There’s no one in this film who didn’t go great work and Martin Freeman was in this. This was a MCU film that fit well within it, but didn’t really need the rest of the films to make it work. The silliest this film got was Andy Serkis’ bonkers portrayal of Ulysses Klaw which was funny, without costing him menace.
This was a good film for the whole family, it’s not hard to sell this film, but if I had to all I need to say is War Rhinos.
Couple of years ago there was some ‘leaked’ internet footage of a Deadpool test with Ryan Reynolds in comics faithful Deadpool costume, this caused the net to go nuts. I saw that and hoped that it’d lead to a half decent version of the Merc with a Mouth, getting to the big screen (I am NOT counting X-Men Origins Wolverine) and was quietly optimistic. Then Deadpool came out in Feb 2016 and not only did it not disappoint, it was the perfect comic book movie. It was it’s own thing, rather than a direct adaptation, but it was very much faithful to the spirit of the character. Then at the end, in a homage to Ferris Bueller Deadpool mentioned that in a sequel, they would get Cable. As a big 90’s comic mark, I loved Cable at the time and still appreciate much of the more recent appearances. When Josh Brolin was cast, I was equally optimistic. Even more so, when they mentioned Domino and other members of X-Force would be in the film too. So when I saw the second film? Vindicated. Reynolds was as excellent as ever and the rest of the cast stepped up to join him. This was again an original story that hung together on the strength of it’s action, heart and comedy. I don’t know if this was as good as the first, but I really enjoyed it and bought the Bu-Ray as soon as it came out, highly recommended.
The Christmas Chronicles
I haven’t been as Christmassy as I wanted to be this year (more on that on another post) and found that apart from the traditional three films at Christmas (Lethal Weapon for the MIGHTY Rosie, Arthur Christmas for SuperSam and Die Hard for me) I haven’t really been into anything Christmassy until my sister in law (who I shall refer to as CrazyOwl) recommended this to the MIGHTY Rosie & I. This film was a usual schmaltzy holiday tale with one thing different. There was no jolly and vuncular Santa with a spare tyre and fluffy coat, this was Kurt Russell as a Santa of Action. It had a musical number, a car chase and more than a couple of surprises and was exactly what the doctor ordered, because I felt as Christmassy as hell when it was done and we all watched it three times. Even if you are not a fan of the holiday TV movie genre, this was so well done that it stood on its own as a good film. Cannot recommend this enough.
Avengers: Infinity War
One of the best things about comics and yet also the worst thing about comics are the ‘events’. Big comic book crossovers with lots of tie-ins, larger than life stories and this year, Marvel put one on the big screen. It had funny moments, dramatic moments and even genuinely touching ones. Everyone was on form and I mean everyone, with a cast of over 20 principle protagonists and Josh Brolin acting his way through CGI as a more sympathetic Thanos. It was full of quotable lines, awesome set pieces and twists and turns, just like a 90’s event shoud be. This was the culmination of what the MCU has been building towards for the last 10 years and 20 films and it was worth waiting for. The only reason I didn’t put this at the end was two fold: One – this is only part one of a two-part film series and it looked like it. Two – It wasn’t the last film I saw this year that was…
My first X-Men comic of the 90’s was X-Factor 70, written by Peter David. I followed David through his run on X-Factor, till he flew off to DC. At DC he was given the less than stellar character of Aquaman. I found this comic by accident, mistaking it for the Tom Grummett drawn Superboy comic of that era. Far from the ineffectual Superfriends-esque man who talks to fish and little else, David’s Aquaman was brash, a bit cocky and far from being the friendly hero of the past. In issue 2, he lost his hand and from there, became more of a barbarian king than a super-hero. He grew out his hair, grew a beard and wore less clothes than before. I loved this Aquaman, who took no shit and kicked several kinds of ass. Then there were several retcons and reboots and we get a retro-modern Aquaman with the lighthouse dad and royal mum and the yellow and green, short back and sides look. When DC began expanding it’s movie characters beyond Batman, they cast Jason Momoa as Aquaman. Fresh of his time as Conan the Barbarian and a year on Games of Thrones as Kahl Drogo, Momoa was ideal as the 90’s Aquaman and it became clear that this was the reto-origin version, with touches of the more extreme version of the 90’s and in Justice League, Momoa nailed it. He was gruff and dismissive of Batman and brash and gung-ho in battle and when I heard that there would be a film, I was actually excited. Okay, lets repeat that, excited about an Aquaman film.
So me and the MIGHTY Rosie got the posh seats at the cinema and watched it on a rare Saturday morning together and you know what, despite my high expectations, this was better than I could have hoped. Momoa in comfortable in the role and is clearly having a lot of fun. Amber heard is … there as is NIcole Kidman and we get some half decent supporting cast work. The only thing that did strike me was how anyone would cast Willem Dafoe as the caring mentor character is somewhat surprising. I spent the whole film waiting for him to turn and be revealed as another badguy. The effects are amazing and the action sequences are as exciting as CGI can make them. This was a big blockbuster film that really hit the spot and I left the cinema eager to watch this film again.
Well that’s that for another year. With another Avengers film, Captain Marvel, the other Captain Marvel and Detective Pikachu. It looks like 2019 will get me back to the cinema even more than this year.